Tales of the Adventure

The Strength of Three
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Strangers in Sendsend
Two men from the desert and a cabin boy walk into a bar...

Having arrived in Sendsend with a caravan of goods from Dredena, the dye-maker Kartoosh and his companion Rabinagath Bador of Khosh find meagre lodgings at the inn and become acquainted with the young crewman Cloudwater, named after the trading cog he sailed in on. During the course of the evening the group learns something about each other and the next day Kartoosh and Rabinagath approach the captain of the Cloudwater and inquire about transport to Helas Girith. The captain, suspicious of the haughty Dredenian Kartoosh but respectful to the fellow merchant Rabinagoth agrees to give them passage on certain assurances and on Rabinagath’s vouchsafing that Kartoosh will not be a problem or liability.

Medieval village

Village of Sendsend on the Maysend river

Rabinagath, followed by Kartoosh explores the town, casually looking about for something he might be able to use as a staff which no one will mind going missing. He wanders to the outskirts of the settlement, leaving Kartoosh behind in the market, and finds a large wooden tripod next to an abandoned house, from which a cooking pot could be suspended over a fire. He takes one of the lengths of wood as his makeshift quarterstaff and pokes around a little more looking for anything of value, such as a pot, left behind. Finding no such thing he heads back towards the Cloudhopper.

Meanwhile, Zartoosh has wandered the market trying to familiarize himself with the architecture and stone work of this strange culture. He determines the Tandaseans build using a hard stone and mortar, but his skills fail him and he cannot determine the exact nature of the stone used. He looks at the nearby local grasses and plants to see if there is anything familiar he can identify but nothing is recognizable. At a herbal stall he tries again to identify what is for sale to little avail and asking the attendant all he gets in the cold shoulder.

On the boat, Cloudhopper after having climbed the mast of the ship to determine the local wind and get a better view of the town and where the two foreigners went, speaks with Captain Gnemoarshiz about possible shore leave. The captain tells him he doesn’t care what he does as long as he first helps finish load the goods and secure them to the deck. Cloudhopper acquiesces and helps lash the crates and barrels down. As he does so, he notices a few crates with Farusean labeling on them. He can’t quite make out what they say, but notes it a bit odd that any shipments from Farusea would come through Sendsend and not pass into Tandasea much further east. He takes a moment to copy down the labelling on parchment and then finishes his work.

Rabinagath returns to the Cloudhopper and asks Captain Gnemoarshiz if he is in need of a skilled cartographer, perhaps to supply needed maps and charts. There must have been something in the way Rabinagath approached this proposal, because the captain remembering his weather worn and fading charts jumps at the chance to have this strange man draw up replacement charts and even agrees to maybe pay something for the work if the product proves worthwhile. The captain supplies Rabinagath with his old charts, a pen and blank parchment and lets him get to work. Rabinagath then makes a point of committing as much of the charts to his formidable memory as possible as well as redrawing the most damaged versions.

Cloudhopper then wanders into the market and approaches the dusky Zartoosh who stands frustrated at the herbal stall. He arrives just as Zartoosh blurts out a very touch “Tobacco!” to the merchant who looks just as annoyed as ever. Cloudhopper then engages the salesman, who calls himself Geos, and buys some savoury spice, some curing salt and finally some tobacco from the man. Zartoosh, seeing the tobacco he was previously denied begins to ask again if he can have some. Again he gets the cold shoulder. Cloudhopper cuts in and mentions something about Zartoosh being Farusean, at which Zartoosh is incredibly offened and goes on a tirade in Dredenian and spits on the ground, grinding his heal into the dirt where he spat. Cloudhopper moves quickly to smooth the situation over and offers Zartoosh some of his tobacco and they move away from the stall…

From the Diaries of Rabinagath Bador:

The 6th of the Third Moon.
At long last this dreadfull caravan is over, of all the indignities my family has suffered none has been so grating as this latest journey over the sands. My caravan so full of promise was lost to me as I approached Drudenia two months ago. Penniless and indebted once again I was forced to join the caravan of the the Qi merchant and profiteer Feng as a mere baggage handler in order to earn my keep across the sands. Feng took a keen interest in my humiliation during these trying times. The only position he offered me was that of manure keeper. My blood boils in its veins with heat of my shame. In Drudenia however Feng himself was the misfortune one, for this now cursed land had no interest in his eastern trinkets and silks. He departed for home a poorer man for the efforts of his journey and I rest soundly when I imagine the crippling taxes he will face when he passes back through Khosh.
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18th of then Third Moon.
Times are bad in Drudenia, the once proud houses are led by broken even maddened men. Whatever darkness scourged this land, has left it once again in Age of Dust. The oasi’ are dry, the valleys wilted the merchant banks depleted. No one here will lend me the money’s I need to return home. As my own resources are nearing their end I have decided to enter deeper into Tandesea looking for new products to sell in the east and investors to finance me.
The Fourth Moon
I’ve taken in with a Drudenian magician who fancies himself a learned man and doctor. He speaks constantly of his knowledge and potential while doing nothing but smoke his numbing leaf. However poor he is though he always finds provisions and being a man of the sands cannot leave another man without bread. He is a man lacking the shame due his lowely position, but he scarcely notices such deprivation. He sells concoctions of mud as medicine to the ignorant in exchange for the brown coins of this country which are not even worth their own weight in bread.
However his company is worthwhile.
Two on the road are safer and he knows this land better than I.
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15th of the Forth moon,
After a long March we have arrived in Sandsend, a trivial market town at the end of the Tandesean sphere of trade. From here we wish to obtain passage to the capital of the province by river craft.
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16th of the Forth moon
At long last fortune shines on me again, today a river boat protentiously named the Cloudhopper docked in Sandsend. The captain, a reasonable man, saw promise in me and has agreed to bring myself and my Drudenian with him on his return to the capital.
__
Interestingly these water folk are wiser than they at first seem. They captain has proven to be a generous and reasonable if remarkably gutless man. While dealing in limited goods he is a trader of some sophistication I notice.
The captain has a reasonable collection of maps and and charts, albeit in dreadfull condition, that he has gullibly allowed me to correct and clean up for him. Thinking little of their worth he has unwittingly let a fellow merchant see these most prized possessions and bizarrely even offered me compensation for their adjustment. Obviously I have altered several key locations on the caravan routes to protect them from Tandesean merchants and spent every conceivable effort in memorising these charts.

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Thief and Favour
Crow adds to his wallet and indulges his stomach

Crow at the Market

Not wishing to be deterred from atteding the grand market by a mere pair of city guards, Crow returns to the square and looks for an opportunity to relieve someone of their wealth. He watches as a crowd gathers around a man dazzling his audience with magical conjurations, dazzling the market goers by making the water in a bowl obey him. Crow sneaks closer to get a better look (using a fat man as cover). He sees that the magician is making the bowl of water vibrate and splash with shouted commands and gestures of his hands, but perhaps more interesting to Crow are the many purses dangling from marker goers belts as they stand enraptured by the conjurer.

Crow takes his chance on cutting the button off of a man’s belt pouch and then waits for a climactic moment in the magician’s show to quickly reach into the pouch and see what he can take. The magician soon calls out wildly, invoking the power of the ancients and the water within the bowl becomes a liquid snake, thrasing and snapping at the audience. Crow siezes this moment to deftly reach into the man’s pouch and grab as many coins as he can and quickly disapear down the alley from whence he came.

Grand marker

The Grand Market – art by minnhagen

Successful, he runs round the corner and pauses behind the back wall of The Priestess Tavern, the smalls of the finest cooking spilling out from several open doors. Crow, famished from not having eaten for over a day, approaches one of the doors and looks inside. He sees a huge kitchen with many, many cooks and kitchen staff running around and yelling at one another, busy with food preparation for the wealthy patrons in the tavern. Crow sees a young dishwasher lad about his age and whistles for him. The boy cannot hear Crow over the din of the restaurant and Crow flicks a copper coin at his head, pinging him accruately behind the ear. The boy whirls around angrily but as soon as he sees Crow in the doorway his jaw drops as he can’t believe he’s face to face with the legendary boy who steals into castles and thwarts the efforts city guard! Crow motions the boy over and promises him money if he’ll bring him some food. The boy, star-struck, races off and comes back with the most sumptious looking plate of roast lamb, broiled potatoes and garden greens that Crow has ever seen. Crow surmises he must have swiped it from some servers unattended tray and the boy risked much to steal it like that. Crow reaches into his pocket for the money he just recently pick-pocketed and gives the boy 3 silver coins! The boy is astonished at this display of wealth and very grateful, exclaiming he could never make so much even in two weeks of work! He asks Crow how he got the money and Crow tells of how he stole it from Captain Axbrow from right under his nose. The boy is amazed and impressed with Crow’s gaul and asks where he can find Crow in the city. Crow decides to tell him where he can be found, and reveals the secret entrance to the urchin’s undercity home. Crow also tell him that the boy should take more risks and dare to follow his dreams, not be some lousy cook’s personal slave! The boy is bolstered by Crow’s words and seems resolved to change his life. At that moment, a man can be heard yelling for the boy from within (calling for Tobias) and the boy retreats into the kitchen, telling Crow he’ll see him again. Crow turns to his food and notices that Griffen is fairly quivering with anticipation of the meat on the plate and Crow gives him a slice. Crow then hears someone from the kitchen coming for the back door and so he takes off down the alley, round another corner and eats his food hidden from public view.

After being fully satiated from the rich meat and savouries, he and Griffen take a visit to the house of the Silk Man and scout it out. They find that the front of the row house is gated off with a large iron fence and the back entrance lies behind a walled garden. Crow scales the garden wall, to get a better look. He sees no activity in the garden or through any of the windows of the house, but he knows there must be at least servants home and probably the notoriously sadistic guard. Some grates cover openings next to the house’s foundation that must give ventilation to the basement where Crow assumes Thim is being held. Not wanting to draw too much attention to himself in the day time, Crow then quickly leaves and resolves to return at night to see what he can do about finding the captured Thim. He and Griffen then return to the poorer district and to Crow’s underground home to rest.

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Thim goes missing and the Grand Market
Crow returns to the Merchant Quarter

After spending a rough night in his secret hiding place in the undercity, Crow prepares to venture out into the city again when a fellow street urchin, Lukas, comes to him in a panic telling him that their friend Thim was caught stealing apples from the Silk Man’s garden and was taken into the merchant’s house 3 days ago and hasn’t been seen since. The Silk Merchant (known to the urchins as the ‘Silk Man’) is a notoriously cruel individual and Lukas worries that Thim may be in serious trouble; perhaps sold into slavery or perhaps something worse! Crow reassures Lukas that Thim will be ok and that while they will go and investigate, they first need some food (as Crow’s stomach, and Griffen’s as well, have been growling for hours now). Crow leads Lukas into the merchant quarter where the Grand Market is and Lukas reluctantly follows. Unfortunately for Crow, some city guards see him come into the market and keep a close eye on him, tracking his movements through the busy square. While scanning the market stalls for something good to eat Crow spots a small band of guards led by Captain Axbrow walking about the place. Axbrow struts about looking very self-important and bowing low to all the noble women he meets. Crow then looks around for some way to create a distraction so he can get up to no good but he hesitates for too long and the guards begin to approach him. Crow quickly flees the square with Griffen and Lukas and they run down a side street and make a quick turn at the next intersection. Crow tells the two of them to hide and Griffen instantly runs behind a crate and seems to totally disappear whereas Lukas squats behind another crate but can be clearly seen. The guards can be heard coming and Crow tells Lukas to run back to the poor quarter. Lukas takes off and Crow quickly scales the building next to him and hides on the roof just as the guards come around the corner. They guards don’t see Crow or Griffen and Lukas is too far to catch, so they reluctantly go back towards the square empty handed.

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A royal quest begins
With Grandmother's blessings

Pythia and Hywel have just met with Pythia’s grandmother and received word of what she wants of them. Just then, they receive word that dinner is being served and they are expected to attend. Entering the great dining hall, Pythia and Hywel see the tables thronged with guests and the King sits at the high table drinking and talking with notables. Pythia takes her seat at this table, attended by her personal dining maid and Hywel goes to a table where a general from Farusea is seated and makes conversation. She learns that the prince was part of the King’s Gryphons, an elite company that was sent to the border of Dredena near the lost city of Brylinshor. The order was given for the company to try and reclaim Brylinshor but after several attempts to take her was forced to camp east of the city near the Ivory Forest. Hywel is assured that it is unlikely the prince was part of the initial raids and should be safe, but no word has come from the company for some time now. The general tells Hywel in whispers that the a special force from Farusea known as the ‘Ravens’ has been sent to try and locate the prince and his company.

Later that evening, Pyhia and Hywel meet again briefly with Pythia’s Grandmother for a final word before departing. Pythia is given a leather doublet with hidden chainmail sewn into it which her grandmother insists she wear. Her grandmother also instructs Pythia’s handmaiden to suitably distress the clothing Pythia had chosen to travel in so that she does not appear royal. The clothes come back dirty and torn, but still are obviously of a very high quality. Pythia’s grandmother sends them off and tells them to take the horses she has waiting for them in the stables. The pair soon set out towards the castle gates.

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Distrurbance at the Barnacle
Strange men and corrupt watchmen

The next evening while crow rests in the back of the tavern, a sudden hush comes over the patrons in the main room. Roscoe can be heard asking a man what he would like and a gruff voice with a foreign accent asks him if he knows anything about ‘the spider’. Roscoe says he does not, whereupon it sounds as if several men begin to toss tables about and generally make a mess of the room. Wether or not they are looking for something or just trying to intimidate in unclear. Roscoe protests, and at one point the curtain to the room where Crow is staying is thrown back and the silhouette of a large man in a black cloak in outlined in the opening between the back room and the bar. Griffen sneaks under the cot where crow lies. Crow cannot make out much of the man except that his left hand, with which he hold the curtain back, appears to have silver rings on each finger. The man stares at Crow for a few seconds and then abruptly turns back into the bar room. He gives an order for his men to follow him and they all exit into the night. Roscoe checks on Crow but seems to know nothing of the man or indeed who or what the ‘spider’ is.

The next day Crow leaves the Barnacle and begins to make his way back to his section of the undercity. As he is leaving the Barnacle, he notices a coin dropped on the paved street just outside the tavern. He picks it up and discoveres it to be a copper coin from un unknown origin. He pockets the coin and goes on his way. He then sees Captain Axbrow and three of his men cornering Otto Brownstone the baker and challenging him about some insult he supposedly gave to the captain. Crow hides behind a crate and listens in, Griffen at his heals. From what Crow can gather, it seems like the Captain made some suggestive remarks to Otto’s wife and Otto took offense and told the Captain off. The Captain did not take kindly to the backtalk from Otto and has now cornered him and is asking for all of Otto’s money, or else… Otto complains that it’s all he has and he won’t be able to buy supplies and the loss of the money will ruin him, but the Captain takes no pity on him and after knocking him to the ground and giving him a few good kicks, takes his coin purse and walks off with his men. Crow approaches Otto and asks him what happened. Otto, wholly despairing, repeats the story and bemoans his fate. Crow shows the scroll he stole to Otto who refuses to open it, telling him the seal is of noble lineage and that it’s from Farusea and there is no way he’ll risk whatever it may mean to open it if it wasn’t meant for him. Otto then goes back to wringing his hands and Crow tells him not to worry, but decides that there isn’t much he can do for him and leaves him, head in hands, at the side of the street.

Crow then goes to his hideout in the undercity and meets with the other urchins. There are several there including a couple of kids younger than Crow who seem to idolize him, and a couple other kids, one of whom challanges Crow on what Crow says he did that day (Crow says he faced off against the Town Watch and after an exchange of blows, gave them the slip). The one older kid doesn’t believe Crow but is still impressed at the scroll and such that Crow acquired. Crow goes to rest in his ‘room’ and places the scroll and foreign penny in his secret stashing place. He lies down to rest and Griffen lays down beside him.

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One little mistake...
Crow slips up

Crow managed to pocket some rather valuable jewelry and a strange sealed parchment from a local merchant’s bedroom and then unexpectedly fall from the rooftops onto a garden wall nearly breaking his ribs! After staggering away and hiding in the hidden underground passages of the city sewers, Crow then called for his canine companion, Griffen, who soon showed up to keep him company. Griffen then heard strange noises deeper down the sewer tunnels which Crow decided to stay far away from. Recovering from the initial shock of his injuries, Crow decided to leave the sewers and try to make it to his friend at ‘The Barnacle’ Tavern. Entering the streets once more Crow made his way as quickly as possible back to the poor district. After a narrow escape from a panicked house servant and some city guards Crow and Griffen reached The Barnacle and got help from Roscoe the owner and Melinda the barmaid who brought the district saw-bones, Doc Harbur, to take a look at Crow’s badly bruised ribs. Some awkward trades of stolen goods later, Crow rests in one of the dirty Tavern back rooms while Griffen sleeps at his feet.

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